The Net Neutrality Issue

Essay by tirath5uUniversity, Master'sA+, December 2008

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The Net Neutrality Problem“Net neutrality is the principle that data packets on the Internet should be moved impartially, without regard to content, destination or source. Net neutrality is sometimes referred to as the ‘First Amendment of the Internet’."*Net neutrality is a concept that explains that the Internet Service Providers (ISP) should provide free and open transmission of data over broadband networks. They should not discriminate their customer’s access to the internet by prioritizing specific content and applications accessible on the Internet. It also implies that the content providers should be free to broadcast data or applications of any size without the ISPs acting as the gatekeeper who prioritizes the content based on the fees paid to them by the end-user and the content provider.

Allowing the cable and telephone companies to regulate traffic on their networks by discriminating among different types of content not only takes the freedom from the end-users but also makes them prone to marketing gimmicks of the ISP.

The internet since its conception has been running on the notion of freedom of movement of data across all the networks irrespective of its size, place or the publisher of the content.1HistoryThe reason for this debate over network neutrality is that the phone and cable companies, such as AT&T and Comcast, who provide the internet service to users believe that they should be able to do both, filter the content available on their network and charge content providers based on a “tier” system. They feel this is part of their right as the service provider since they have made heavy investment and they provide the users with high speed connectivity and safe access to internet.

“In 2002, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) made a cable broadband services decision, which recognized the cable industry's media monopoly over its own...